Although as you age your bones can become more brittle and fragile, that is not the same with teeth. Teeth tend to remain strong. However, there are several factors that come into play that can wear down, decay, or otherwise damage your teeth and gums as you age. Some of these factors include habits such as bruxing (the chronic grinding and clenching of your teeth); a high sugar diet which causes decay and can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease; a misaligned bite, and more. In the first installment of Aging Teeth, we discussed mechanical wear, structural wear, and erosion, but there are other ways your teeth change as you age. Find out what they are in Aging Teeth: Part 2.
We are all aware that coffee can stain our teeth, yet most of us don’t stop drinking it for that reason. Coffee is not the only food or beverage that causes tooth stains. Smoking and chewing tobacco stains your teeth, tea, red wines, blue berries, red sauces and hot sauces all can cause staining and tooth discoloration over time.
The biggest threat to tooth health is periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the major cause of tooth loss. It also causes receding, red, bleeding gums. The risk of receding gums and/or gum disease rises with your age. One reason for that is because gum disease takes time to develop. Gum disease and receding gums make your teeth look longer, and also put the root of your tooth at risk of staining and decay. Practicing proper oral hygiene can help prevent gum disease from developing. Brushing at least twice daily will help remove bacterial plaque that leads to gum disease if left untreated. Visiting the dentist for biannual cleanings and checkups also helps keep gum disease at bay.